Never forgotten

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Dora Rivera of Daniels Family Funeral Services on Friday helps plant flags with handwritten names of the victims of 9/11 at Vista Verde Memorial Park in Rio Rancho. This is the fifth year volunteers have planted 2,998 small American flags and the same number of white flags around the memorial to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

12 years on, RR remembers those who lost their lives on 9/11

It’s been nearly 12 years since the attacks on the Twin Towers rocked New York City and left the world a different place.

Thousands of tiny flags fluttering above the grass at Vista Verde Memorial Park in Rio Rancho show that those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, are not forgotten.

On Friday morning, employees from Daniels Family Funeral Services and local community volunteers placed miniature U.S. flags and white flags bearing the image of a dove around a sculpture of the World Trade Center’s towers that stands in the Vista Verde Public Servants Garden.

Each of the nearly 3,000 white flags bears the name of someone who died at the Twin Towers handwritten by volunteers from Children’s Cancer Fund of New Mexico, Albuquerque Area Firefighters Random Acts group, and chaplains from local law enforcement and fire departments, said Joan Stasi, 911 memorial coordinator for Daniels.

At 1:30 p.m. today, a motorcycle run will start from the Daniels Family Funeral Service location at 1100 Coal Ave SE in Albuquerque and ride to Vista Verde where they will hold a brief memorial service. Among the riders will be a specially adapted motorcycle hearse that will carry a flag-draped empty casket.

Vista Verde will hold a memorial service at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, where there will be music by the choir from Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School. Opera singer Ida Huber Mitchell will sing the Lord’s Prayer, Stasi said.

New Mexico Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Gorden Eden will be the guest speaker and the winner of Daniels’ scholarship essay competition will read the winning entry. Daniels provides a $1,000 scholarship an essay based on a 9/11 theme.

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Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ronny Hunt visits the Pentagon-shaped memorial at Vista Verde Memorial Park on Friday. White flags with the names of the 9/11 victims were placed around the memorial. Children with cancer from the Children’s Cancer Fund of New Mexico and volunteers from Albuquerque Area Firefighters Random Acts wrote all the names.

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